Zaporozhye, Ukraine – Russia has struck a vital port of Odessa, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday, apparently seeking to disrupt supply and supply of Western weapons as Ukraine’s foreign minister seemed to suggest the country could expand its military targets.
З the war is now in its 11th week and Kyiv, which threatened Russian forces and even organized a counteroffensive, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba seemed to suggest that the country could go beyond simply pushing Russia into areas it or its allies held on the day of the February 24 invasion.
The idea reflected Ukraine’s ability to deadlock a larger, better-armed Russian army, much to the surprise of many who expected a much faster end to the conflict.
One of the most dramatic examples of Ukraine’s ability to prevent easy victories is located in Mariupol, where Ukrainian militants remained hidden in a steel plant, denying Russia full control of the city. The regiment, which defends the plant, said that Russian warplanes continue to bomb it.
In recent days, the United Nations and the Red Cross have organized the rescue, according to some officials, of the last civilians trapped at the plant.
But two officials said Tuesday that an estimated 100 people are still in the complex’s underground tunnels. Others said it was impossible to confirm.
In another example of the horrific victims of the war, Ukrainian officials said they had found the bodies of 44 civilians in the rubble of a building destroyed a week ago in the northeastern city of Izyum.
Meanwhile, new UN figures say that by the end of April, 14 million Ukrainians had been forced to flee their homes, including more than 5.9 million who had fled the country.
In Washington, a senior US intelligence official said Tuesday that 8 to 10 Russian generals had been killed in the war. Lieutenant General Scott Barrier, who heads the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate committee that because there are no non-commissioned officers in Russia, its generals are forced to enter combat zones and find themselves in dangerous positions.
Ukraine said Russian forces fired seven missiles on Monday Odessa, hit the mall and warehouse in the country’s largest port. One person was killed and five were injured, the military said.
The pictures show a burning building and wreckage – including tennis shoes – in a pile of destruction in the city on the Black Sea. Later, Mayor Gennady Trukhanov visited the warehouse and said it had “nothing to do with military infrastructure or military facilities.”
Ukraine has claimed that at least some of the munitions used date back to Soviet times, making them unreliable for purposes. Ukrainian, British and American officials say Russia is rapidly using its stockpiles of high-precision weapons, which increases the risk of using more inaccurate missiles when the conflict escalates.
Since the time of President Vladimir Putin’s troops failed to take Kyiv at the beginning of the war his focus shifted to the eastern industrial center of Donbass – but one general suggested that Moscow’s goals also include reducing Ukraine’s maritime access to the Black and Azov Seas.
It will also give it part of the territory that connects Russia with both the Crimean peninsula, which it seized in 2014, and Transnistria, pro-Moscow region of Moldova.
Even if it fails to separate Ukraine from the coast – and it does not seem to have the strength to do so – long-range missile strikes on Odessa reflect the strategic importance of the city. The Russian military has repeatedly attacked his airport, claiming it destroyed several party of western weapons.
In Mariupol, the Russians also fired on the Azovstal metallurgical plant, the Azov regiment said, shelling the sprawling complex 34 times in the last 24 hours. Attempts to storm the plant also continued, the report said.
Adviser to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko estimated on social networks that the company has at least 100 civilians. The governor of the Donetsk region Pavel Kirilenko said that there are still people “who were not selected by the Russians” for evacuation.
Both officials did not say where they learned that civilians were still in the complex – loopholes of tunnels and bunkers spanning 4 square miles.
Fighters with the Azov Regiment. published photos of their wounded comrades inside the plant, including some with amputated limbs. According to them, the wounded lived in unsanitary conditions “with open wounds, bandaged with non-sterile remnants of the bandage, without the necessary drugs and even food.”
In a statement to the Telegram, the regiment appealed to the UN and the Red Cross to evacuate wounded soldiers to Ukrainian-controlled territories.
Independent photo verification is not possible.
Military analysts believe that Russian forces are trying hard to gain a foothold in the Donbass, and military analysts believe that a strike on Odessa could cause concern in southwestern Ukraine, forcing Kyiv to send more forces there. This will distract them from the eastern front, when the Ukrainian military organizes a counteroffensive near the northeastern city of Kharkov, trying to push the Russians across the border.
Kharkiv and its environs have been under constant Russian attack since the beginning of the war. In recent weeks, horrible shots testified to the horrors those fights, with charred and mutilated bodies on the same street.
In Izyum, about 75 kilometers from Kharkiv, dozens of bodies were found in a five-story building that collapsed in March, said the head of the regional administration Oleg Sinegubov.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that the military was gradually pushing Russian troops away from Kharkiv. The General Staff of the Ukrainian military said its forces had driven Russians out of four villages northeast of Kharkiv as it tried to push them back to the Russian border.
Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, meanwhile, seemed increasingly confident – and expanding goals – amid Russia’s halted offensive.
“In the first months of the war, the victory for us looked like the withdrawal of Russian troops to the positions they held until February 24, and payment for the damage,” Kuleba said in an interview with the Financial Times. “Now that we are strong enough on the military front and we win the battle for the Donbass, which will be crucial for the next dynamics of the war, of course, victory for us in this war will be the liberation of the rest of our territory.”
The comments seemed to reflect more political ambitions than realities on the battlefield: many analysts acknowledge that while Russia is unable to make quick progress, the Ukrainian military is not strong enough to drive away the Russians.
This was especially important in times of crisis, when the future of the whole country may depend on the courage of one man, “said Zelensky, whose own communication skills and determination to stay in Kyiv when he was attacked by Russia helped make him a strong wartime leader.
In the US, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan measure on Monday restart the World War II-era Lend-Lease program that helped defeat Nazi Germany, support Kyiv and its allies.
Gambrel reported from Lviv, Ukraine. Esika Fish in Bakhmut, David Keitan in Kyiv, Yuras Karmanov in Lviv, Mstislav Chernov in Kharkiv, Lolita Baldor in Washington, Kelvin Chan in London and AP staff around the world.
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